Dr. Robert Shoemaker obtained his Ph.D. in human genetics from the Graduate School of Public Health of the University of Pittsburgh in 1975. Following postdoctoral experience at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology he moved to the Children's Hospital Medical Center of Akron. His research on pediatric tumors led to an interest in the genetics of drug resistance and new drug discovery. After joining the Developmental Therapeutics Program of the National Cancer Institute in 1981, he held a variety of positions dealing with development of novel drug screening projects relevant to cancer and AIDS. Most of these were implemented at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. Two of the drugs discovered in the anti-HIV drug screen developed at Frederick (lamivudine and Ziagen®) were among the first FDA approved anti-HIV drugs.
Dr. Shoemaker was granted tenure in the NCI intramural research program in 1992 and conducted research in the Laboratory of Drug Discovery and Development at Frederick. From 2000 - 2011 he led the Screening Technologies Branch of the Developmental Therapeutics Program, Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis in their efforts in anti-cancer and anti-viral drug discovery. He moved to the Division of Cancer Prevention’s Chemopreventive Agent Development Group in 2013, becoming chief in January 2017.